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The first U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in 1955 was headed toward a record fifth title for Ben Hogan. When he finished late Saturday afternoon with a 70, Hogan was being congratulated in the clubhouse. The only player left on the course who could possibly stop him was Fleck, and he was two shots behind. Fleck, however, made birdie on the 15th and followed with pars on the 16th and 17th. He caught a decent lie in the right rough, and then hit 7-iron to 8 feet for birdie and a 67.

The news was relayed to Hogan, who knew he and his battered legs would have to play another 18 holes the next day.

Fleck wouldn’t go away, holing key putts and seizing control around the turn. Hogan needed a birdie on the 18th to force extra holes, but he pulled his tee shot into rough deep enough to cover the cuffs of his pants. His first shot barely moved the ball a few feet, and his hopes were over.

Fleck wound up with a 69 to win by three shots for his first win in what many consider one of the greatest upsets in golf. But it was no fluke. Olympic was so tough that year it yielded only seven rounds under par. Fleck had three of them. Hogan never won another major, contributing to Olympic being known as a “graveyard of champions.”



Tiger Woods probably should not have played the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee just two days after the Masters, and weeks before the U.S. Open, discovered two stress fractures of the left tibia. Woods played anyway, and turned in one of his most memorable major performances.

Even as knee began to buckle, he surged into contention with a six-hole stretch late in the third round that was pure theater _ a 70-foot eagle putt from the back of the 13th green, a chip that one-hopped into the hole for birdie on the 17th, and a 30-foot eagle putt on the final hole for a one-shot lead going into the final round. But when he came to the 18th hole Sunday, he was one shot behind Rocco Mediate. Woods laid up into the right rough and hit a sand wedge to 12 feet.

His putt bumped along and caught the right edge of the cup, dropping for birdie to force a Monday playoff against Mediate.

Woods again fell behind in the playoff, and he had to two-putt for birdie on the 18th to extend the playoff. On the first extra hole, Mediate ran into trouble off the tee at No. 7 and Woods won with a par. It was his 14th major championship, and his seventh win at Torrey Pines.

Two days later, Woods had reconstructive surgery on his left knee and was out the rest of the year.



Jack Nicklaus was going for a fifth U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach, where he won the Open in 1972 that was remembered for his 1-iron that struck the pin on the 17th. The same hole proved pivotal 10 years later, only for Tom Watson.

The final round turned into a duel between Nicklaus and Watson, and Nicklaus was in the clubhouse at 4-under 284. Watson had a one-shot lead until he three-putted the 16th hole from about 70 week to fall back into a tie. Then, Watson slightly pulled a 2-iron on the par-3 17th and went just over the back of the green. It looked to be impossible. The ball was nestled in thick grass, but the pin was toward the back of a green that ran away from him.

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